If you haven't experienced it, you have heard of it. The kid gets a great (usually expensive and difficult to find) gift and spends a few minutes inspecting it before turning their attention to the box that it came in. They spend hours - even days - imagining the most fantastic adventures in their box. They sail the seven seas in a box boat. They take a trip to Mars in a box rocket. They bake cookies in a box oven. They hide under their box bin. The draw pictures on the box and colour it. They crawl through the box tunnel. They take photos or videos with their box camera. The world is waiting to be explored. The simplicity of a cardboard box can bring hours of fun. The joyful, carefree giggle of the child at play (with a box! of all things) lifts the heart of one who hears it. So, what should we give the children in our lives?
I don't mean to brag... oh, who am I kidding? yes I do!
The kids tend to LOVE my gifts. M definitely gets the prize for "awesome present"... especially at birthdays! Unfortunately, this means that I have a bit of a reputation to uphold. I am expected to wow the kids with a gift they will love. Let me be clear... it is not the children who expect to be overawed by my gift. It is the parents. They are so used to my gifts trumping all the others that they have grown to expect that my gift will be the favourite. What a scary thought.
However, I have decided (only a little while ago) to relax and if it lives up to expectations then that is great. If it doesn't; then too bad. In the past I seem to have achieved the WOW factor without even trying, therefore I can only hope that I am able to achieve it in the future.
If you are wondering how I do it... you are not alone! Put simply: I consider the kid. I love these kids and I talk to them (have done so since before they could talk). More importantly, I listen to them. I take notice of the things that grab their attention and I listen to their stories and laughter and tears. Then, when I am shopping, I try to imagine them playing with or using the potential gift. If the kid in my head is smiling, then I buy the gift. However, there are some basic guidelines for age groups and genders which I will share with you tomorrow.
If all else fails... buy the kid a box!